Fund in memory of Heathfield opera star

Robert Poulton
Robert Poulton

The widow of an opera singer who tragically died in a road crash in Cross-in-Hand in October 2012 is launching a charity in his name to pass on his love of singing.

Father of two boys, Robert Poulton, 55, from Heathfield died hours after a head-on collision when teenager Jessica Christie-Sturges, also from Heathfield, accidently swerved into the opposite lane of the B2102. She died at the scene.

Robert Poulton was an operatic baritone who sang with the English National Opera and at Glyndebourne.

His widow, Philippa, said: “Rob was a wonderful father, and a very successful opera singer, but he was so much more than that. If you were ever lucky enough to spend time in his company, you will know exactly what I mean; he had an innate ability to share his love for life, his charm and his integrity with everyone that he met.”

She explained he was able to engage with the emotions of his audience in a way that eludes many classical singers of this generation. “He was not only able to reduce the most challenging of audiences to tears with the timbre of his baritone, but he could also evoke intense laughter, with merely the lifting of an eyebrow, or the twinkling of an eye. When he sang he made you feel good; it’s as simple as that!”

In launching the charity she says her aim is to pass on his love of singing and his ability to change lives for the better. “I know this is both greatly needed and entirely possible in a world that can often be challenging.”

At first she plans to focus on two areas; firstly to send a specialised singing tutor into two schools based in Inner London, yet to be identified. They will concentrate on whole class sessions involving Key Stage 2 children. Secondly she wants to set up and fund a Community Hospice Choir in East Sussex.

Philippa described how Rob’s death has caused a great deal of sadness, both to his beloved family, and to many colleagues and friends who adored him. And she feels strongly she would like his name to be remembered in a way that truly honours the man that he was.

She says they initially need to raise £5,000 in order to register The Robert Poulton Foundation and is asking for support to help sons Tom, Will and herself to make this possible. “We would be very grateful for any contribution you can spare, no matter how great or small.”

Visit the page: Philippa’s recent post indicated they are on their way to their objective and thanks generous donors.